Students gather in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 On Tuesday, Jan. 21, following the holiday designated to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., students, faculty and community members gathered in Berg Agricultural Hall to discuss the meaning of Dr. King’s activism and the meaning of the Civil Rights Movement in an event called Mobilize for Martin Luther King, Jr. 

A collaborative effort between Diversity Director Jaime Nolan-Andrino, Assistant Professor Jim Burns and Program Advisor Willie Harmon, the event consisted of a series of clips from an interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Mike Douglas Show and dialogue among attendees. 

Clips of Dr. King’s interview were shown, and following each of the three clips, those attending were asked to break into small groups to discuss what they had just listened to. 

“What is his legacy? What is the current state of civil rights in the United States today?” Burns said. 

It was encouraged that the attendees kept these questions in mind when watching the clips and discussing. Topics of the discussion included dialogue of patriotism as well as civil rights and Dr. King’s role. 

“The questions allowed him to share thoughts that weren’t popular at the time, and it’s important to research and know about because he spoke out even when it wasn’t popular. He fought for social justice to the end, whether there was support or not,” Harmon said. Harmon chose this interview to show because most of the time, people refer to King’s I Have a Dream speech and this allowed for a new dialogue since it is content rarely talked about. 

The lecture hall was filled with a variety of people ranging from students and faculty, to community members. 

“It empowers and educates others,” said Elizabet Woche, junior human development and family sciences major of the event. 

Hermela Bekele, sophomore sociology major added the event was important to “remember his legacy.” 

“Today we have few leaders that have the image and status that Dr. King had … we have missed that sort of leadership,” said President David Chicoine. 

Harmon explained to those in attendance that Dr. King is important to America’s history, and his ability to communicate effectively meant that he was equally as powerful in interview situations as he was through his speeches. 

While the event was a collaborative effort between the Multicultural Center and Diversity Enhancement, it is a university wide effort to remember Dr. King and his life said Harmon. The event was meant to bring the university and the community together to celebrate a hero’s legacy. 

According to Woche, the Multicultural Center often hosts events such as the Mobilize for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and if students are looking for educational, inspiring events, they should stop by the Multicultural Center for information. 

“Dr. King was amazing at building coalitions, older with the younger, culturally, racially. It provides a space for the community to dialogue with the university. An event like this brings everyone together,” Harmon said.